Last Friday 22 May ’09 I took part in ‘t Media Park in a ‘brainstorm’ about the future of the NOS with deputy editor-in-chief Tim Overdiek (@overdiek) of the NOS, innovation advisor Remco Bakker (@remco_bakker) of Syntens and Benny Naber (@bennynaber) owner of the agency Fier.

Given the subject, such a brainstorm is of course never ‘finished’, which led me to keep thinking about it. I have tried to express this thinking as well as possible below.

How can the NOS remain a strong brand in the future? There is a tendency to quickly think in terms of resources, reasoning on the basis of the current strategy. For example, the NOS Journal-iPhone application has now been launched with which the latest NOS news and the latest 8-hour news can be viewed on demand.
However, starting from the subject, I believe that for the future of the NOS it is important to first of all look closely at the (strategic) starting points, organization & working method and adjust them where necessary. In the second instance, this will also lead to the deployment of new and existing resources and the way in which these can be deployed.

As the NOS itself indicates on its website, as a public broadcaster it is responsible for a broad news supply that is reliable and independent. From the past, the NOS has always been a sender in this respect. However, society has been changing for some time now. Based on objectives and wishes, people are more and more individually engaged with their ‘own/personal brand’ from a desired profile. So in the future, the NOS can no longer just send; it will also have to learn to receive. After all, the ‘own/personal brands’ also want to broadcast.personal branding

What does this mean for the NOS? And especially in practice, in such a way that preferably content and form fit together and reinforce each other? On the one hand, it is important for the NOS in the future to safeguard its reputation values as reliable and independent. On the other hand, it is important to continue to reach as many people as possible and to bind them permanently to the NOS so that people remain loyal to the NOS regardless of time, place and means.

In an attempt to answer these questions, the following question immediately comes to mind: will people in the future definitely assume that the news supply of the NOS is reliable and independent? Or will people increasingly look for the reliability and newsworthiness of a subject themselves, especially when it comes to subjects in which people feel closely involved privately and/or professionally. Finally, as an ‘own/personal brand’ with a desired profile, you don’t just announce and spread something that you may later experience negative consequences yourself.
In the context of ‘do you believe me?’ people will certainly be inclined to do a kind of ‘double check’ themselves, look for information and details to be sure, possibly give more background information and point out the news in a way that matches his/her desired profile.

To remain a strong brand in the future, in my opinion there are opportunities here for the NOS. For example, by transparently showing how the news message at the editorial board came about, in the form of a logbook that can be found in the final text or video message. With hindsight, because I understand that there may be objections to a real-time public log during the editorial work prior to posting or broadcasting the news item.
At the same time, the NOS can release a list of subjects on which the editors are or will be working at fixed times 24 hours a day and which may possibly lead to a detailed news item. These topics can be placed on people’s own sites using widgets, RSS feeds or other technical solutions, or distributed via social media such as Twitter & Facebook. When people know something about a subject they can immediately pass it on to the editors of the NOS. If it concerns a relevant input, the person in question will be included in the aforementioned logbook again.

man positiefImmediately think of a few other applications for the NOS based on the above idea, but apart from the aforementioned arguments, this in any case increases the involvement of people in the news and the NOS; people who then again like to promote the NOS. Conversely, the NOS comes closer to the people, making it (even) more humane as a brand. You can celebrate success, and you can sometimes make mistakes.

Mistakes such as the recent news that economist Jan Pen had died while the best man is still alive. To prevent the reliability of the NOS from being (temporarily) dented, Tim Overdiek explains afterwards in the NOS weblog how and why this could have happened, and that it should never have happened. Nobody is flawless, not even the NOS, but by showing how the message was created by means of a kind of logbook and offering people the opportunity to be more involved, a long-term good reputation of the NOS in the future will result rather than a bad one. The NOS will be experienced as a strong brand.

Also with regard to internal communication, it will be a challenge to let the mentality and behaviour of the NOS employees move with the character of the NOS: not only sending but also receiving. Of course, in line with this, the organisation and working method will also have to be partially adapted to content and form in the future. Delivering internally what you promise externally!

But with someone like Tim Overdiek at the helm who is consciously working on the NOS news supply in relation to all current and future developments, and an organisation that dares to be open in this respect, I have every confidence in the future of the NOS.